Book 2 | Chapter 49 | Chase the Ship

Chapter 49 – Chase The Ship

A mass cremation was arranged for the captain and his men.

“General, I worry about the current times. What has the Chozha empire come to?”

“Prince, it has been like this ever since the Pazhuvettarayars were given powers. It has been like this for a while.”

“No. I do not mean that. You heard what the captain said. His own men disagreed with him, and left him. This is mutiny. That is a first. I am worried that this behaviour will spread. I am going to ask you to do one thing. When these sailors come and surrender to you, please do not take them in. Arrest them and send them back to Thanjavur.”

“Prince, we have heard only one side of the story. We would need to listen to what they say, as well. That is the right way to decide.”

“Ok. You decide what needs to be done. We need to part ways now.”

“Where are you going, Prince? I thought you were coming with us.”

“General, have you not figured out by now? My friend and brave warrior, Vandhiyathevan, has been enslaved by the Arabian warriors. He did that for me. How can I not go after him? Please find me a craft to get me there.”

“How will you reach there and what will you do when you find the ship?”

“I do not need to explain my actions to you, General. I will do what it takes to catch up with the ship. Once I reach the ship, I will board it and fight to save my friend. And if I cannot save him, I will die trying to.”

The Prince then turned around and found the fisherman speaking with Poonkuzhali. He headed towards them.  When he came close to them, he saw that Poonkuzhali had tears in her eyes. The fisherman fell at the Prince’s feet.

“Sire! Please forgive me. I did this for the money. I should not have.”

“Poonkuzhali, can you please explain what is happening here.”

“Sire, I am sorry, I should have told you this before, but I felt ashamed. This boatman is my brother from Kodikkarai. He is the one who brought the two rogues from Kodikkarai to Lanka. They had asked him to wait here for them. He was the one who took them to the ship that carried the Arab people. He also says that Vandhiyathevan got onto the same ship.”

“Oh, Prince! Please kill me with your own hands. I did not know that they were rogues, and they had bad intentions of killing you.”

“Brother, get up. Your life is much more precious to me, than ever before. If you want to atone for the sin that you committed, I want you to take me to the same ship, as soon as possible.”

The Prince looked up at the horizon, and suddenly said, “I think I can still see the ship. We should be able to catch it. Hurry up!”

The General exclaimed, “Prince, that is not the ship that you seek. The ship that you are seeing on the horizon is Parthibendran’s ship.”

“Ah, you are right. I will take this boat to the ship, and use Parthibendran’s ship to catch up with the Arab ship. That will be faster.”

“Sire, I would like to ask permission to …”

“General, it would be best if you remain here. Nambi, I think you should remain as well. Poonkuzhali, you should go back to where you had left your craft, and resume your return journey. I will never forget the help that you have rendered.”

The Prince jumped on to the boat and they were off.